Urges Kenya to use tough past to guide its future

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — President Barack Obama is urging Kenyans to use the lessons of Kenya's difficult history to guide it into the future.

By:Pool/Getty Images News

Obama is giving a speech to several thousand Kenyans in Nairobi. It's the centerpiece of his visit to the country where his father was born.

Obama says Kenya isn't perfect. But he says it's come so far even in his lifetime. He's describing an evolution from colonialism and isolation to independence and global engagement.

The president says Kenyans chose not to be defined by the past.

But Obama says the progress isn't complete. He says Kenya is at a crossroads filled with both peril and promise.

Obama is noting the presence of corruption and tribal conflict and urging Kenya to reduce disparities in education and health care.

Obama's visit raises Ethiopia's stature amid rights concerns

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Like the visit to Kenya, President Barack Obama's trip Sunday to Ethiopia represents the first time a sitting U.S. president has been to the East African country and according to its government, it is a sign of the nation's growing stature.

However, there remain grave concerns over political freedoms. Opposition figures fear that the visit, coming on the heels of an improbable 100 percent ruling party win in elections, will legitimize a repressive government.

Obama is set to holds talks with the president and prime minister and is expected to discuss the conflict in southern Sudan, confronting the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab in Somalia and economic development. Administration officials have also promised frank discussions over the lack of press freedom and political openness in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is also the home of the African Union and on Tuesday Obama will be addressing the whole continent from the organization's new headquarters in Addis Ababa.